Tag Archives: Power Drive

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Kansas Cyclist did an extremely thorough review of Lezyne’s Power Drive. Tip of the cap to ya gents.

I recently purchased a new bicycle headlight, a Lezyne Power Drive. This is a quick look at the device, and some initial impressions on its performance.

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

The Power Drive is an LED headlight, and is the middle offering in a three-tier line from Lezyne:

  • Lezyne Super Drive: 450/300/150 lumens, 1.5/2.5/4 hours runtime, 18650 battery, $110 list
  • Lezyne Power Drive: 300/200/100 lumens, 2/3/5.5 hours runtime, 18650 battery, $90 list
  • Lezyne Mini Drive: 150/100/50 lumens, 1/1.5/3 hours runtime, CR123 battery, $70 list

The Power Drive, like the Super Drive and the Mini Drive, is available in black, silver, or gray. I opted for black.

My thinking, in choosing the Power Drive, was that 300 lumens was plenty for riding paved and gravel roads at night, and that 100 would probably be fine as well. I was also wanting to optimize run time, and the 5.5 hours at 100 lumens seemed to be the best in that regard.

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

I was a little reluctant to switch to 18650 batteries, since I’ve used mostly AA and AAA batteries in the past. The great thing about the AA/AAAs is that they’re available at any convenience store. The 18650 is a much more specialized battery size (it is not yet available at Wal-Mart, for instance), though it seems to be gaining ground.

However, most of the competing bicycle headlights were using proprietary batteries or battery packs, and I did not want to get locked into a single-source (translation: expensive) solution. Also, some of the competing lights had external battery packs; I appreciate that Lezyne offers a small, self-contained unit.

The 18650 size is very popular in the flashlights field. The 18650 appears to offer a higher voltage and a larger capacity, in a smaller space and lighter weight, compared with two AA’s (and only slightly larger/heavier than 3 AAAs).

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

The big selling points for me with Lezyne lights is that they use standard batteries that are easy to swap out (so it’s relatively easy to carry spares), and that they are optimized for bicycle use (rugged, easy mounting, water resistant, sensible modes). Flashlights might offer more bang-for-the-buck, at least initially, but since they are optimized for handheld use, they often feature strange modes (SOS?) and kludgy handlebar mounting. Worse, they don’t (in my experience) withstand the vibration of bicycle use for long. Most cheap flashlights are not rugged, but many better-quality flashlights cost nearly as much as the bicycle-specific lights.

Here’s how Lyzyne describes the light:

300 Lumen cycling light purpose built for night riding. Uniform Power Beam reflector and lens assembly produces a dual purpose beam pattern that illuminates both near and far terrain without sacrificing visibility in either field of vision. 100% CNC-machined aluminum body and battery cap. High-capacity Li-ion battery is USB rechargeable and replaceable. Programmed with three steady modes and one high-visibility blinking mode. Comes with two durable Composite Matrix handlebar mounts (31.8mm, 25.4mm) with thumb screw for easy installation and secure attachment. USB charging cable included.

Here’s what you get with the product:

Light, battery, instructions, two sizes of handlebar mounts, and a USB cable.

The battery is Lezyne-branded, and is rated at “3.7V 2400 mAH 2 Amp Protected”. According to the instructions, “only Lezyne branded LIR 18650 2 Amp Protected batteries may be used”. However, when I contacted Lezyne, they told me that other brands may be used, but that Lezyne developed their batteries to have “super long life”. The Lezyne battery carries a 6-month warranty (the light itself is warranted for 2 years). Using another brand of battery does not explicitly void the warranty. The list price for the Lezyne battery (LIR 18650) is $19.99.

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Here’s a look at the bottom of the light and the battery compartment:

The tail of the light twists off, and you insert the battery into the tube, then thread the tail cap back on. It’s good that the battery polarity is marked on the case, and the threads appear to be of good quality.

Here you can also see the rubber gasket over the USB port, and the mounting tab that slides into the handlebar mount.

Here’s a look at the USB cable attachment:

The USB connection is a mini-USB size. To access it, you lift up the little rubber flap (which acts as a gasket when attached to the bike). Inserting the cable took a bit of fumbling, since the rubber kind of gets in the way, but it does go in.

Once attached to a power source, whether a computer or a USB AC adapter, the light begins to flash softly during the charging period. Once it stops flashing, the charge is complete. The battery has internal protection to avoid over-charging, so you can leave it connected overnight without risking damaging the cell.

Lezyne claims a 4-hour charge time. My initial charge time was about 1.5 hours. After using the light on a 2.5-hour ride (mostly on “low”), the recarge time was again about 1.5 hours. I have not yet run the battery to exhaustion and measured the full charge time.

Weight of the light, battery, and mount is 139 grams (4.9 ounces). Pretty impressive.

Mounting the light to the handlebar is easy enough, though I had to add a rubber shim to get it to fit on the handlebar of my Puch (though not needed on my Long Haul Trucker. Once mounted, the slight bit of side-to-side adjustment proved useful in fine-tuning beam placement, and of course for up-and-down adjustment, you just rotate the mount on the bar.

Frankly, I’d have preferred the simplicity of a rubber band mount, so that it could fit practically any bar size, but this system does work, and feels secure enough. Though putting the light onto the mount, and taking it back off, requires two hands, and is a bit of a futzy maneuver.

I’ve done one ride with the Lezyne Power Drive so far, and was suitably impressed. I found that low mode (100 lumens) was adequate for most conditions. The 200 and 300 lumen levels were brighter, but not enough to justify the shorter runtimes, at least in this limited test.

Throw was moderate, though not nearly as long as my Rayovac Indestructible, but compared to that cheap $15 light, the beam on the Power Drive was much more pleasing to the eye (white instead of yellowish), and with a nice even spread throughout the main beam focus. Beyond the main beam, the Power Drive’s spread was adequate to see the road and objects to the sides.

The “flash mode” on the Power Drive seems like it might be useful, operating at perhaps 5 flashes per second — fast enough to call attention during low-light conditions, but not seizure-inducingly-fast like some lights I’ve seen.

There is no “low battery” warning, which might be a little unnerving if you think you might be cutting it close, but I guess peace of mind is what spare batteries are for.The user interface on the Power Drive is pretty simple: Hold the button down for 2 seconds, and it’ll turn on at maximum brightness. Press again for medium, again for low, and again for flash. Subsequent button presses will simple cycle through the modes again. Press and hold for 2 seconds to shut it off.

So for now, I’m feeling positive about the light. The only two problems I have with it are the fiddly rubber gasket and the awkward mount-unmount procedure. Both are minor points compared to the excellence of the light itself.

The question comes to mind: At $90 list, is the Power Drive six times as good as the $15 headlight I shared a few months back? There’s no doubt that it’s a better bike light. It definitely puts out much more light than the $15 torch, the beam pattern is much better, it has more secure mounting, and the flash mode has potential safety benefits. And since the cheaper light is almost twice as heavy and twice the size, the Power Driver will be much easier to carry in a pocket. So yes, I think it’s worth it.

Anyway, I plan to keep riding with this light, and hopefully provide a longer-term follow-up review in the future.

At this point, highly recommended!

Lezyne’s Power Drive gets Editors Award at Triathalon Magazine

editors choice union star

Lezyne’s Power Drive gets Editors Award at Triathalon Magazine

91 POINTS! We’re scoring better than a lot of pricey bottles of wine, so go ahead and do yourself the favor: skip those bottles of wine and buy yourself some sweet LUMEN LOVE! It’s a Valentine’s Day FIESTA!

Lezyne snags the “Editor’s Choice” award at Triathalon Magazine. This is exciting stuff…our LED’s are finally getting the recognition deserved, if I might be so blunt.

Lezyne Power Drive Tri Magazine

“Knocks out a lot of power….despite its small size.”

“Well-made and sealed CNC case so operation, even with gloves on, is really easy.”

“A nicely priced and sturdy number that packs a lumen punch.”

91 POINTS! We’re scoring better than a lot of pricey bottles of wine, so go ahead and do yourself the favor: skip those bottles of wine and buy yourself some sweet LUMEN LOVE! It’s a Valentine’s Day FIESTA!

Initial Review: Lezyne’s Compact Super Drive Headlight

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Initial Review: Lezyne’s Compact Super Drive Headlight

Thanks to all great folks over at BikeRumor.com, enlightening the world about all of the great and not so great products in the industry. In all honesty, I didn’t expect to like Lezyne’s Super Drive.  As a commuter who regularly starts and finishes his morning commute in the dark, I’ve been spoiled by trail-ready 900+ Lumen lighting systems and the vision -and visibility- that they guarantee.  Coming from substantially more powerful lighting systems, I wasn’t sure what a 450 Lumen light with a mere 90 minute runtime could offer- especially at $110.  After about eight weeks of near-daily use, I now know- and have taken quite the shine to the little light.  Click through to find out more…

With its replaceable internal rechargeable battery, the Super Drive is a slick little package.  Slightly smaller than an Exposure Joystick, the Superdrive is similarly built almost entirely from aluminum, making for a sturdy light.  Tool-free 31.8mm and 25.4mm Composite Matrix (plastic) bar mounts are included in the package, as is a Mini USB charging cable.  Though there is no battery gauge on the light itself, the LED itself flashes while charging.  Though it’s tempting to use the Super Drive as a flashlight, Lezyne warn users not to- without cycling’s air flow, the light can’t evacuate the heat generated by the LED emitter and the body can in my exterience get quite hot.

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Lezyne’s Uniform Power Beam reflector makes the most of the light’s moderate 450 Lumen claimed output (on high- medium and low put out 300 and 150 Lumen, respectively).  Though not as pencil-thin as the Joystick’s, the Super Drive’s beam is among the more focused I’ve seen on the bike and the concentrated center makes it seem a whole lot brighter than it should be.  The beam almost creates a tunnel of light for riding in- not really broad enough for bar-mounted mountain biking, but plenty wide for road and commuter biking.  Aimed properly, I haven’t found myself wanting for more than the Super Drive’s high output while commuting, even at 30mph.  The hooded is a nice touch and does a good job at preventing accidental self-blinding when standing for climbs. (Why doesn’t everyone do this?)

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Though it’s reasonably stable once fitted, the combination of the charging port seal and aggressive tab on the hot shoe-style bar mount makes mounting the Super Drive a 2-handed affair.  Despite tightening the thumb screw as much as I could, it remains easy to aim the light from side (and so also to knock it off center). The location of the charging port and its chunky rubber cover make it difficult to charge the light while it’s mounted- not a big deal unless you have an outlet near your bicycle parking spot.

About the diameter of a roll of quarters and the length of a smartphone, the Super Drive is easy to remove from the bike when locking up for the day.  The 90 minute runtime requires regular topping off- thankfully the USB charging port makes at-work charging easy.

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

As good as it is, with its relatively focused beam and light 125g weight, the Super Drive is really screaming for a helmet mount.  This would make the most of the beam, allow the rider to catch the eye of drivers merging from side streets, and enable off-road use. Happily, one is in the pipeline and should be reaching distributors by the middle of February.  For the next generation, a bit of clipping at the top of the beam might be nice as well.  Aiming the center spot fairly far out makes the most of it’s punch- a rotated “D” shape might make a bit more of the light’s output while sparing oncoming traffic.  But these would be a minor change and do little to take the shine off the little Lezyne.

Though it may not seem like it on paper, the Super Drive is a heck of a package- and especially impressive for a first effort.  The price is reasonable, additional batteries are available if needed, and the output is surprisingly punchy.  The self-contained design has sidelined my more powerful headlight for commuting- and I haven’t missed that light’s higher output.  If the forthcoming helmet mount is half-decent, the convenience and safety of its high position could well make it the commuter light to beat.  Stay tuned for more…

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

L&M Urban 300 vs. Lezyne Power Drive

L&M Urban 300 vs. Lezyne Power Drive

L&M Urban 300 vs. Lezyne Power Drive

Light comparison between Light and Motion’s “Urban 300″ and Lezyne’s “Power Drive”.

Late last year as the shorter days were encroaching the wife and I needed some proper lights for commuting. We both don’t fancy dynamos and the old basic 5 LED Knogs we had just weren’t cutting it.I have a DIY LED set-up for MTB riding from about 6 years ago, an ancient 10w halogen and I had the misfortune of owning a NR Mi-Newt Ni-cad (battery had a very short life and not worth the trouble to replace). We live in the city and run lots of errands – so lots of hopping on and off the bikes… battery packs/connector cables and straps just get in the way.

Being the geek that I am, I figured I’d buy two different lights just for the fun of it. We’ve now been regularly using the lights for around 3 months.

Both the Urban 300 and Power Drive are rated at 300 lumens, both self-contained units/single button/hi-med-low-flash cycles, both weigh about the same ~115gm and have roughly the same burn times (2:20 & 2:00 respectively). However the Urban 300 costs around $30 more ($115 vs $80 – Amazon) – but many reviews of L&M lights said that their optics are worth the premium.

Construction
Both lights are small and compact. They’ll both fit easily in your pocket/bag. As mentioned above, they really don’t weigh anything, but both feel very solid.

The Power Drive is typical Lezyne – machined, elegant and purposeful. The machined aluminium body induces that mag-lite-quality type of reassurance. We’ve yet to drop it, but it seems as if it would only be cosmetically damaged.

The Urban 300 is also well built. I’ve actually dropped it onto the pavement, plastic rear end first- not a scratch! I do agree though that it’s more likely to crack on hard impact, in this case I’m pretty sure the few extra grams for a full Alu casing wouldn’t go astray for piece of mind.

I’d say overall that the Lezyne edges just a little out in front – but only time will tell. Both lights are waterproof and have worked flawlessly through heavy rain/snow.

Both of the lights’ rubber switches work well and feel solid. To turn the Power Drive on, you have to depress the swtich for a second, then release (the light turns on during this second at very low intensity) > switches off the same way. The Urban 300 switches on immediately and needs a 2 sec long press to turn it off – It hasn’t happened to me yet, but I could for-see accidentally turning the Urban 300 on in your pocket or bag.

Mounting System
The Power Drive is supplied with a tool free plastic bracket for your bars (one fastening screw, one holster for the light, one 25.4mm and one 31.8mm bracket). This isn’t your cheap and dreadful plastic mount from “generic made in China 5 LED re-branded crap” – it’s quality resin that is well made. On the light itself, a protruding metal tab inserts into the plastic mount. This means that in the off-chance that you break the mount, it’s just the mount you’ll have to replace and not the light itself. The light can be swiveled a few degrees left to right and the wife’s had no issues of the light moving round, even when riding over the less than flat cobbled streets. It’s also worth noting that it’s possible to screw the clamp down so that it no longer can be moved left-to-right. In conjunction with a piece of old innertube the mount has stayed in place – no issues. It’s really easy to get the light in and out, simply push the plastic tab (beware that if you don’t do this when inserting the light, it’s not securely locked in).

The Urban 300 employs a rubber strap and hook system. Easily adapts to any bar diameter – including those transition areas between your grips/the tops and the stem clamp. Again, not your average cheap rubber band/plastic- The hook could be damaged and I assume the rubber will eventually harden up and crack, but it looks easy enough to replace (hex screw on the bottom). The light can also be swiveled a few degrees side to side and has never moved over those same cobbled streets. Even in the wet the rubber strap holds firm (all my handlebars are anondised alu, if you have glossy carbon bars it may not work as well). The hook for the strap has enough space so that you should be able to fold the excess strap and hook it down – this unfortunately doesn’t work so well, so the excess ends up flicking up. It doesn’t affect the function of the light though.

Overall both systems are great. As an owner of multiple bikes, it’s definitely easier to move the Urban 300 between bikes whereas the Power Drive is a bit more of a fiddle.

Charging & Battery Life
The Power Drive charges via Mini USB, common with most P&S cameras and portable HDDs. The battery itself has built in over-charge protection. There isn’t a charge/ing indicator per se. Charging is indicated by a low intensity flash of the light itself. It’s meant to stop flashing when fully charged. If you’re charging the light at work (wife works on an iMac) the flashing can be distracting, but it’s easily solved by covering it up. Unfortunately the light doesn’t always stop flashing after the alleged 4 hours. It may just be a bug, but it’s easy to set a timer. I should also mention that the battery is ‘commonly’ available from electronics stores (although Lezyne sell spares). It’s just like a big fat AA. Burn time has been pretty accurate so far – does what it says on the tin. Although as to be expected, battery life is slightly reduced due to the cold temps we have at the moment. Personally I find the lack of battery indicator to be a pain. Sure, the light has a ‘low battery mode’ when it hits 15% but it really requires you to log in which modes and for just how long you’ve used (the wife’s been caught out once – but we always carry a back-up). Then again, with USB charging it’s easy to top off the battery.

The Urban 300 has a small multi-colour LED at the rear of the light. It utilises as Micro USB port, common on most smart phones and probably the future standard for all non-smart phones. When charging the non-removable-internal battery through the different stages (from low to high) it flashes: red, orange, green… when solid green, it’s finished. It’s also equipped with over-charge protection. As the battery drains it annoyingly quickly moves from green to orange, then red and finally red flashing. It just makes me think that I have to charge my light more often than is probably required. I normally charge it after it hits red – solid (about 30% left). However, despite this flaw, it’s a lot easier to find out when you should top up the battery than the Power Drive. Burn times are again pretty accurate as to the claimed times.

The Light
Urban 300 angled down:

L&M Urban 300 vs. Lezyne Power Drive

Power Drive, angled down:

Power Drive angled down

Urban 300, facing towards the oncoming person/car:

Urban

Power Drive facing the oncoming person/car:

Power Drive facing the oncoming person/car

One big thing that’s noticeable is the lack of side-lighting of the Power Drive. The Urban 300 has two small ports that direct light to the sides and as you can see, they’re really effective where we cyclists often rely on reflectives to be seen from the side. The reflective on my gloves light up and I can read my road bike’s computer with ease.

In terms of beam pattern, the Power Drive has a distinct tight spot, it’s great for oncoming traffic since the light is very intense and noticeable. Whereas the Urban 300 has a wider spot with more light spilling available surrounding the spot. Personally I prefer the Urban 300 for fast road rides, especially unlit roads/streets, not that the Power Drive isn’t bright enough – it just doesn’t illuminate as much (but only a little). Both lights on low mode are great for well-lit city streets, although we tend to leave them on medium to try and get noticed out of the flood of street lights.

Conclusion
Given that battery and charging times are about on par for both, it comes down to the features for me. I really think that the side windows of the Urban 300 make sense in terms of safety- they don’t consume any more battery since they’re lit up by the same LED. Also the lack of dedicated charge indicator on the Power Drive can be a little worrying when you haven’t kept a log of just how long you’ve used the light. I can’t say enough about having a commonly available, user replaceable battery of the Lezyne- rather than having to send the whole light back to the manufacturer (major PIA and $$), just order one and pop it in and cycle on your merry way. IMO that makes the Lezyne better value as you’ll more likely get a spare battery rather than think about buying a new light (which I’d be more inclined to do when the Urban 300′s battery dies).

In essence I’d love these two lights to make a baby… the battery indicator, wider spot & side windows of the Urban 300 with the all aluminium casing & user-replaceble battery of the Lezyne. In retrospect, I’m not sure if the Urban 300′s extra features are worth the extra $30, but considering I ride a lot in the city – I think they are. Also I use the Urban 300 on my commuter and roadie, so not having to order an extra mount is a definite plus.

Overall though I think you can’t go wrong with either. They’re both fantastic lights, especially for the money. I’m really happy with my Urban 300 and the wife is happy with the Power Drive.